Portrait sketch on toned gray paper

Here’s a sketch that I did a few days ago.  This was done in a single sitting.  Playing around with toned gray paper.  This was created in a Strathmore Toned Gray 5.5″ x 8.5″ (14 x 21.6 cm) sketchbook.  For this sketch, I used a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2b lead, blending stump, & white charcoal pencil.

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Take care – Mike

 

Something new

I’ve been spending time with a new tool, new software, & new possibilities.

A few weeks ago I splurged a bit and bought a new art creation tool.  I had been curious about and itching to get my hands on a pen display tablet for some time.  This curiosity came to a head a few weeks ago and I splurged for a Huion Kamvas Pro 16 Tablet.

For those who aren’t familiar with a pen display, it is a screen and stylus that is designed for digital art.  The screen is simply a display similar to a standard computer monitor.  The enhancement is that it works with a pressure-sensitive pen to provide a similar experience to traditional drawing.  This is not a stand-alone device and must be connected to a computer in order to work.  I use it with my laptop.  The nice thing is that it can also be used as a second monitor.

As far as software is concerned, I tried both Adobe Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.  In the end, I settled on Clip Studio Paint due to its less complicated user interface and more economical price.

Below is a photo of the setup I used to create this drawing.  I’m sure this setup will go thru some evolutionary changes as I spend more time with this process. You can see my laptop at the top of the photo.  I pull up my reference on the laptop display.  This arrangement lends itself to a comfortable work setup.

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Clip Studio Paint comes with a good selection of creative tools right out of the box.  For this drawing, I primarily used the pencil brushes that came with the software.

Now, I don’t anticipate that digital will become my prime focus.  However, it does have advantages.  I tend to think of digital as a multi-media sketchbook with endless pages.  No worries if a sketch goes completely awry, you haven’t “wasted” any supplies.  Just put it aside and start anew, no worries.

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I will say that at this point, I still believe there isn’t a substitute for traditional tools.  There just isn’t a substitute for the tactile feedback, the texture of the paper, and the tool in your hand.

Thanks for visiting, stay safe and healthy. – Mike

Trying out a 4 color Bic

Just a bit of sketchbook experimentation

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I have seen other artists create portraits using a 4 color Bic pen and I wanted to give a shot as well.  It was a nice experience seeing some color on the page for a change.

I have a bit of ink bleedthrough from some handwritten notes on the back of the page.  But, that can happen sometimes.

Just a bit of fun and experimentation.

Have a great week. – Mike

 

Chimpanzee Portrait

I have been wanting a sketchbook with black paper for a while.  I finally purchased one in early January along with a 3 pack of white Sakura Gelly Roll pens in white.  The pens came in 3 weights 10, 08, & 05.  The portrait below was sketched with the 05 and 10 weight pens.

The sketchbook is a Canson 7″ x 10″ (17.8 cm x 25.4 cm).  It’s 40 pages of 92 lb. (150 g) paper.  The pages are perforated so drawings can easily be removed (if worthy, haha).

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This was a fun sketch but, you have to remember to focus on sketching the highlights, instead of the shadows.  I had to constantly remind myself of this fact.  I am so used to sketching the shadows.  Starting off light and working my way into the darkest areas of the subject is my usual approach.  This sketch was the complete opposite of that usual technique, plus I was using the Gelly Pens which is a very opaque medium so I had to be very conscious of my strokes.

Still, it was a good exercise and I look forward to creating more sketches within the covers of this book.

Have a great day, Mike

A purely joyful expression

Pure, adjective:
        not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
Joy, noun:

a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

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Pure Joy…That’s how I would describe this man’s expression.  It is what drew me to him as a sketch subject.  Just looking at his expression puts a smile on my face.

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The reference photo for this sketch was found online.  I apologize but, I do not know who the photographer was who captured this wonderful moment.

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This is the first sketch that I have completed recently and it felt really good to lay down some graphite again.  I have relocated my studio to our basement until the house sells.  There’s not much natural light but I have at least three times the space!  Plenty of room to spread out.

I am thinking of branching out and trying some new subject matter.  I am also thinking of seriously increasing the scale of my work.  We’ll have to wait and see where the muse points me next.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you guys have a great day!

 

Snarling Wolf

Hello everyone,  Work around the house has slowed a bit, so I now have a little more free time.

I wanted to share this drawing with you that I created back in August.  This is a graphite drawing of a snarling wolf.  My intention was to leave a significant amount of negative space around the subject and only concentrate on the main features necessary to bring out the wolf’s face.

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This drawing is significantly larger than most of my sketches.  Typically I create sketches in either a small 5.5″ x 8″ sketchbook or occasionally I may draw in an 8.5″ x 11″ sketchbook.  This drawing was created on an 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61 cm) piece of newsprint.  I realize newsprint is typically reserved for practice but, I wanted to try something a little larger and it was the largest paper I had available at the time.

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Newsprint isn’t really that difficult to work with you just have to be careful.  It is more delicate than other papers so you need to go lightly with the eraser.  The paper also has a tendency to get a little wavy in areas of heavy graphite.

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Below is a photo of the completed sketch.  This was completed using a range of graphite pencils.  There are also a few strategically placed lines of white gelly pen for highlights.

Wolf Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work.  I hope everyone has a great week – Mike

 

Gorilla Portrait

Another primate portrait.  I really enjoy drawing primates, it seems there is so much thought and emotion behind their eyes.  I also find the wrinkles and patterns of their faces interesting to draw.

This portrait was finished just a few days ago.  It was created in my sketchbook using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  The black background was created using charcoal powder applied with a brush.

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The look of determination

Another older gentleman with an expression that I could pass up.

I do enjoy sketching the older faces.  There’s just so much life written into their skin.  This man’s expression seems to convey concentration and pure determination.

Based, on his expression I don’t believe I would want to get in his way.

 

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5.5″ x 8″, 0.9mm mechanical pencil, 2B lead

 

Thanks for visiting, I hope everyone has a great day. – Mike

Come again?

Greetings,  today I am sharing another portrait from my sketchbook.  This was created in July of this year.  I came across a photo of an older gentleman cupping his hand to his ear in an apparent effort to increase his ability to hear.  I found the act and his facial expression to be so characteristic of an elderly gentleman.  I can imagine that this is a scene that plays out over and over in his daily life.

I fully expect to one day be in the same situation, as a matter of fact, I am already guilty of this exact maneuver.  Too much loud music in my youth… I imagine.

Progress shot with the outlined sketch and beginning stages of flushing out the face and form.  This sketch was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.

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and now the completed sketch.

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Recently, a spider constructed a magnificent site,
just outside of my studio window.

It undulates in the cool breeze,
it shimmers in the morning light.

It brings a smile to my face,
and a feeling of delight. – MDL

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  Cheers

Silent Peaceful Solitude

Good morning all.

I am the only one stirring so far this morning.  I enjoy the peaceful reassuring silence of the house on these early weekend mornings.

I do, however, share the silence with our loyal 4 legged girl, Katie.  She is old, quiet, and all so content, to simply be.  Laying on the floor of my study blissfully sleeping away the hours.

This morning I thought I would share a sketch I created back in July.  This was created using a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead.  I enjoy the simplicity of using a single pencil, never having to break concentration or rhythm to pick up a different pencil to vary the tones.

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I would like to thank all of you for following along with me on this blog.  I know that my posting frequency has been sporadic and there really hasn’t been any set schedule for regular post.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of ways to improve the value of this blog for my followers.  I would like to begin introducing content that goes beyond the sharing of my art.  I am still trying to sort things out, so please be patient.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Cheers – Mike

Portrait on Toned Paper

I created this sketch portrait back in April, but, I never posted it here.  So…I thought, why not share it here as well!

It’s Friday night in my little corner of the world.  I’m looking forward to a great weekend.  I hope everyone else is as well.

Cheers, Mike

 

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Happy Monday

Hello everyone,  It’s a new week, full of opportunity.

Below is a sketch that I created back in June.  This was created using a reference photo, unfortunately, I do not know the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit.

This man’s face spoke of joy, experience, and even though he obviously has lived a long life, his face and expression still has a sense of child-like innocence.

I truly enjoy drawing portraits of the more “experienced” people of the world.  Their faces possess endless amounts of character and wear, each wrinkle earned.

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I hope each of you have a wonderful week.  There will be more posts on the way soon.

– Mike

Back at it

Hello all,  I’m have returned from my self-imposed leave.  After the passing of my father I just needed to take some time to regroup and recenter.  I’m truly grateful for your patience as I transitioned through this season in my life.

I’m currently sitting in my home office/studio space.  The house is quiet as my beautiful bride and son are still in bed.  I cherish my morning solitude as it gives me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and provides time for much-needed retrospection.  I believe that everyone can benefit from such time spent alone without distraction.

I have made a few minor tweaks to this blog, an updated about page, & a new minimal theme with full-width image display.  I have made the decision to remove the photographer focus from this blog and focus solely on my art.  Art is something that I truly enjoy,  it removes me from my environment for a while as I focus solely on the work in front of me.  It brings me inner peace and is an activity that can be practiced virtually anywhere I go.

Even though I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks I have been posting somewhat regularly on Instagram.  I have decided that IG is where I will post my day to day activities and works in progress.

I will leave you with a portrait that was created during my break from the blog.  For this particular sketch, I was able to reach out to the photographer of the reference photo I was working from and was able to obtain permission to use his image as a reference.  The photographer is Thorbjorn Fessel, a talented photographer to say the least.

This sketch was created with a 2b mechanical pencil and a 6b pencil for the darker areas.  The sketch lives in my current ‘go-to’ sketchbook.

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An Honored Request

Recently, one of the readers of this blog requested a portrait from me.  The subject was his late father who past away earlier this year.

The individual who made the request is a fellow blogger.  We originally started following one another due to our common interest in woodworking.  We quickly became good acquaintances via WordPress and now, even though we have never met in person, I consider Ron one of my friends.

So when he asked if I would consider creating a portrait of his father I was extremely honored that he thought enough of my art to make this request of me.  I gladly accepted the challenge.

With Ron’s permission, I am sharing his father’s portrait in this post.

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Now, I’ll admit I was a touch nervous about drawing this portrait.  I have never created a portrait by request before.  The fact that it was Ron’s father made it all the more important that I did my best.  So, I began making marks, hesitantly at first, but, I gained confidence as I continued to develop the drawing.   I had to remind myself a few times to just relax and draw as I normally would.  Eventually the apprehension fell away and I found my groove.

Ron is a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman who creates his wooden wares with nothing more than human-powered tools in his “unplugged” workshop.  His creations are adorned with intricately carved patterns.  Please visit his blog at  An Unplugged Woodworker to see his skill and craftsmanship for yourself.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

 

Reality & Tactile Feedback

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Back to the Real Feel…

Lately, I have been spending a good amount of time creating digital sketches with my iPad.  I really like the convenience and tons of media options.

However, I was missing the sound of marks on paper, creating with real tools, and the lack of an undo button.

I haven’t created a pen & ink sketch in a while so I thought I would dust off my pens and get to sketching.  Here are the results!

Tactile Feedback Sketch

Thank for visiting, I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Feel free to comment!